Prospects College of Advanced Technology
(PROCAT), was the UK's first college of advanced technology which was opened by the UK government in July 2014. Based in Essex, it aims to offer students the best quality education possible with state-of-the-art technology so that they can become the next generation of engineers and skilled construction workers.
PROCAT needed to upgrade its existing 3D CAD system from AUTOCAD 2010 to a parametric-based software. The engineering team needed a CAD system that would meet the requirements of their Level 1, 2 and 3 courses but also a software that would let them expand their curriculum to offer the higher HNC Foundation and degree courses.
They needed a parametric CAD package that was common to employers worldwide, that would link CNC to CAM, was intuitive to 3D printing and that would meet their curriculum requirements not only for the HNC courses but also to accommodate their longer term strategy to facilitate the higher foundation degrees. They wanted a CAD package with FEA capabilities to demonstrate mechanical principles and 3D stresses. The No. 1 priority for 87 per cent of the businesses they work with is to have apprentices who can use 3D CAD and who are industry ready. It was crucial they got it right.
PROCAT engineering department evaluated a number of CAD providers but found SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD
held not only the biggest market share but also offered a comprehensive suite of tools for all their 2D and 3D teaching requirements.
One of PROCAT's industry partnerships is with Olympus Keymed
, a leading manufacturer of innovative optical and digital equipment for the healthcare and electronics industries, who recommended they talked to SOLIDWORKS reseller New Technology CADCAM.
As a consequence PROCAT not only invested in a 500 Campus Education Pack, but also in full commercial seats of SOLIDWORKS Standard
, SOLIDWORKS Professional
, SOLIDWORKS Premium
, SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation
, SOLIDWORKS Simulation Premium
, SOLIDWORKS Plastics
, SOLIDWORKS Electrical 2D
and SOLIDWORKS Electrical 3D
, SOLIDWORKS Inspection
, SOLIDWORKS Composer
for 5 axis manufacturing with G-code and TransMagic
for data translation.
The SOLIDWORKS Campus Licence, which provides 500 PROCAT students with a SOLIDWORKS home activation kit, is an invaluable resource that gives them the chance to develop their skills outside the classroom.
The lecturers at PROCAT are now adopting a new approach to teaching CAD. Before they started students with 2D and then asked them to draw a 2D item into a third angle graphic projection - something they found difficult to express, but using SOLIDWORKS has enabled them to turn their teaching on its head and to start engaging students straight away with a prepared 3D model which they then take back to the 2D state and draw it. All of which is handled completely within SOLIDWORKS.
Getting the right equipment and package to suit not only their student requirements to complete course modules but also to offer their employer partners 'job-ready apprentices' with the confidence and skills set for when they arrive at work has been exactly what PROCAT were looking for.
"Using SOLIDWORKS has turned our CAD teaching on its head. Rather than start in 2D, I can engage students straight away with 3D models and then we can pick it apart, taking the models back to their 2D state and drawing it. I can do it all in SOLIDWORKS."
Lecturer in Engineering, PROCAT